By Sam Goodchild, Teacher, Branas
Children’s homes may face challenges opening their doors to visitors and hosting an event. For example, young people may not want people they do not know coming into their homes and or safeguarding and confidentiality as to where individuals live. Special schools may also face these challenges, however, they also have the potential to support looked after children (LAC) to participate in an event and feel part of a community and reduce the feelings of isolation and perceiving themselves as “different”.
Hosting an event at a special school, where LAC attend, can provide a safe, familiar setting where targeted groups could be invited to learn about and celebrate employment opportunities and celebrate the success and achievements of LAC, at school and in the community. Schools are often the centre of communities and can be the ideal venue to bring together different branches of the Health and Social Care sector. For example Foster Services and Support Workers from Children’s Homes. Additionally, Social workers, YOT workers, Education & Clinical Psychologists & Virtual School Staff and where appropriate children’s families and friends. This could foster new connections, networks and friendships within the sector, which could enhance support for young people and reduce feelings of isolation.
Furthermore, this can be an opportunity to invite groups who may be interested in a career within Health & Social Care. For example, those studying Health & Social Care, Ex-military personnel, Care experienced people. At the event, they could talk to a wide range of staff and potentially be offered a work experience placement and or employment opportunities.
Schools can provide a neutral environment to bring together multi-agency staff and LAC in a positive and fun environment, which could help to foster stronger more positive relationships between groups. The focus should be on fun and celebration and not used as an opportunity to discuss trauma or other challenges. For example, a mini sports day, a talent show, Karaoke or a quiz.
Care Home Open week also provides opportunities for community engagement. For example, the school could organise a fundraising event for a local course or charity. This could be as simple as a coffee morning, cake sale, bbq or collecting donations for food and clothing banks.
- Involve the young people/residents in the planning of the event. They are at the centre of everything we do.
- Form links with other homes/sites that are taking part in the week and share ideas
- Have FUN!